Last week I was in need of a mental break so ditched the office to work from home for a few days. It’s always nice to take a break from ringing phones and dealing with issues that don’t really require my input … but when I am in the office, it seems like they do!
Working from home can be a dinosaur sized trap though. When you’re a mum there is ALWAYS ‘something to do’ at home and in the blink of an eye you’ve morphed from working mum to domestic goddess faster than you can say “I’ll just quickly put the washing on …”
So here are my top seven tips for getting some actual work done (with a bonus tip at the end!). These tips worked for me last week, and they even worked when I had a newborn doing two solid 2 hour naps a day. Nice!
1. Plan your day the night before.
Make a list of “MUST DO” items and “SHOULD DO” items. Knowing in advance what you need to accomplish for the day puts the pressure on and means that your subconscious doesn’t think you’re holiday.
2. Get dressed for work.
It’s so tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day when you’re at home but this sets you up poorly for the day ahead. Have a shower and get dressed. Do your hair. Do your makeup. Bingo, you’re ready to work.
3. Start the day with a tidy house.
Not ‘clean’ mind you. JUST TIDY. Leave nothing around that you will tempt you to ‘just quickly put this away’ because that’s a slippery slide to ‘on the shower floor scrubbing grout with a toothbrush.’
4. Pretend the laundry contains nuclear waste.
It’s probably not too far a stretch anyway and I can’t emphasise this enough. DO NOT GO NEAR THE LAUNDRY. ‘Just one load of washing on’ means ‘just one load of washing to hang up’ and ‘oh, while I am in here I might just tidy the linen cupboard’. Goodbye morning.
5. Turn the TV off.
When you’re flying solo at home it’s tempting to have the TV on for company. No go. Did Kylie just say Delta’s going out with Nick Jonas? I totally love Nick Jonas (he’s 18, I’m 33 … who cares … I just need to check this out …)
6. Don’t get the shopping delivered during work hours.
Do you do your shopping online? You should – it rocks. Don’t take delivery of it during working hours though. By the time you’ve put it all away, decided all that food makes you hungry and make yourself something to eat, you’ve lost 45 minutes. Dammit.
7. Take a lunch break.
Make it at least one hour. That’s plenty of time to get something to eat, go to the post office, check facebook/twitter, read the newspaper and re-set your brain for the afternoon. Do not do chores in your lunch break. Do not do work in your lunch break. Give your brain a rest.
8. Start the day with a clean toilet.
This isn’t a productivity tip. If you live in a house that contains the male of our species, this is a career saving tip. It’s insurance in case a client decides ‘I’m in the area and can I quickly drop by’ and then ‘oh, is it ok to use your bathroom’. Oh god …